Darren Rowse is a full time blogger living in Melbourne Australia. He started blogging in 2002 and has since become one of the leaders in the professional blogging space. He is passionate about creativity, entrepreneurship, travel, food and communication.
His Blog Journey
- Becoming a ProBlogger – A story in Many Parts.
- 18 Lessons I’ve Learned about Blogging.
- The Highs and Lows of the Professional Blogger.
- Six Defining Moments of a ProBlogger
How Does He Work?
- A Tour Of My Home Live-Streaming Studio
- 3 Project Management and Organisational Apps that I Use in My Blogging
- The Team Behind My Blogs: From Solo Blogger to Business
Running Two blogs
- The Pros and Cons of Having More Than One Blog
- The Pros and Cons of Having Multiple Blogs
- 2 Different Tales of Blog Growth Talks about the tipping points for both Problogger and DPS
- Planning for the Year Ahead: My Approach on dPS and ProBlogger
- Did Your Blog Have a Tipping Point? Here’s How My 2 Blogs Grew
- The State of the Darren-Sphere
The Early Days
I launched ProBlogger in September 2004 after writing about blogging tips and making money blogging on my personal blog, in a category dedicated to the topic.
When I launched ProBlogger.net, I brought all of those posts that I’d previously written so when I launched there was already 60+ posts live.
I remember doing some brainstorming of post titles but I didn’t have any posts saved as drafts. Instead, I was so excited about starting ProBlogger that I published 40 posts in the first 10 or so days!
In hindsight – that was too many. I was naive, but I was so excited!
He moved Problogger to it’s own domain in February, 2005. At the end of 2005, he shared his reflections on the past year of blogging.
During it’s first year, he experimented with advertising and blog consulting. He asked his audience for feedback on possible business models. Later in 2015, he revealed that he had earned $14’436 from Adsense. The revelation led to a lot of conversation. You can learn more about it at The $14,436.45 that Got People Talking and ProBlogger Slashdotted. He later described this moment as Problogger’s Tipping Point. He stopped using Adsense on Problogger in 2007.
In early 2013, they changed the strategy for guest posts to focus on better content. Guest posts returned mid 2013 when the former editor left and they were searching for a new one. Read more at The ProBlogger Evolution: Our Halt on Guest Post Submissions
In 2015, he launched the Problogger Podcast. He’s shared more about the journey at:
- Lessons Learned in 200 Episodes of Podcasting
- What I Learned About Podcasting in my First 50 Episodes
He sent out the first edition of the newsletter on April 20, 2005. The newsletter got put on the backburner as he become more involved in other projects. The newsletter was briefly on hiatus during 2008. He relaunched it in November 2009.
In 2010, Darren held the first ever Problogger Training Day at a Melbourne hotel. 150 bloggers attended the event – which is impressive when you consider that it went from idea to launch in less than 4 weeks. In 2011, it had moved to a larger hotel and had a larger focus on networking. In 2013, the event moved to the Gold Coast (Queensland)
He has posted regular recaps:
- Melbourne ProBlogger Event Recap, LinkUp and Looking Forward (2011)
- Highlights from ProBlogger Event 2012
- Highlights from ProBlogger Event 2013 #PBEVENT
- ProBlogger Event 2014 – Wrap Up
- PBEVENT 2015: A Roundup of Tips and Advice Shared at the ProBlogger Training Event Sessions
- What Happened at Problogger Training Event 2016
- ProBlogger Event Speakers Share Their Experience 2016
In 2017, he ran a modified version of the Australian event called Problogger Evolve
He also ran Problogger Academy in Portland.
In 2008, Darren announced the launch of the Problogger book. The book was co-authored with Chris Garrett.
He shared more about the process at:
- ProBlogger Book Launch – Highlights and Updates From the Pre-Launch
- Reflections from a Blogger on Writing a Book… about Blogging
- My Book Arrived!
In 2012, the third edition was released.
Digital Photography School
When I launched dPS back in April 2006, I set out with a year and a half of extra experience and so I decided to take things slower.
The dPS blog was something of an experiment and I didn’t know if it was going to be much more than a hobby. But I decided to create more content before launching and went through the brainstorming exercise, with mind maps that I linked to above.
I had 20 or so post ideas mapped out and even wrote a couple of posts that I’d published before launching – but didn’t have too many posts written as drafts on launch.
My plan at launch was to only post 3 posts per week while I got going but again I got a little excited and in the first week I published 6 posts and from then on it was pretty much daily!
Later, he said:
I put off starting Digital Photography School for a couple of years before I actually launched it (I’ve never admitted that before).
I had previously had a camera review blog that did well but I always dreamed of starting a more ‘tips’ related photography blog. I thought it’d be more satisfying to write and would have more potential to grow a relationship with readers.
He shared part of the journey of building DPS at Problogger. In May, 2006, he was averaging about 600 daily visitors and is earning around $10 per day. In June, 2006, the newsletter had 1800 newsletter subscribers and he was making $25 a day.
He posted a case study update in January, 2007.
By 2008, he had people offer to buy the blog for close to a million dollars. He declined.
In 2008, he also experimented with with increasing forum memberships. He wrote more about that at:
- How I Increased Page Views on My Forum by 66.7% in a Month
- What I Learned by Increasing My Forum Membership by 400 in 24 hours
In 2009, the blog got a new redesign. He posted an announcement post at DPS. The designer, Matt Brett, wrote about the process at How to Redesign a Blog: Redesigning DPS and How to ReDesign a Blog [Part II].
In September 2005, he realized that his daily adsense average was over $500 which meant that he was a six figure blogger.
He has provided regular updates about how he makes money from his blogs, although he doesn’t go into the specifics.
- How Much Do I Earn from Blogging? (2005)
- How I Make Money Blogging (2007)
- How I Make Money from Blogs – My Top Earners (2007)
- How I Make Money Blogging – Top Income Streams Update (2008)
- A Reality Check about Blogging for Money. (2008)
- 12 Blogging Income Streams [And the Story of My 10 Year ‘Overnight’ Success] (2013)
- My Blogging Income Streams (2016)
- How I Earn a Living as a Blogger from ProBlogger and Digital Photography School (2020)
How I Beat my Best Month Ever by Doing Something Good, Better [Case Study] An analysis of his 12 days of christmas promotion
He recently wrote about how he nearly lost his blogging business in 2004. The Day I Almost Lost My Blogging Business By Having Too Many Eggs in the One Basket
The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography was the first ebook launched at Digital Photography School. He shared more about the launch at $72,000 in E-Books in a Week – 8 Lessons I Learned
This post is shorter than many of the others. It is useful though for understanding how Darren built on the skills he’d learnt from the previous launch.
In 2014, the DPS team launched the Posing Portraits guide – which ended up being their biggest launch (at that point.
Darren goes through the complete life cycle of Lightroom Presets Pack, from how we came up with the idea, how we marketed it, how we launched it, and how it went.
Darren shares the lessons he learned from the launch of his first ebook at Problogger in 2009.
In 2018, Darren announced the first course at Problogger. This post shared the behind the scenes details, including technology used.
- How Our eBook Launches Have Evolved (after 235,000 eBook Sales)
- How to Extend the Profitability of an E-Book Beyond Launch Week
Darren has made a lot of money through the Amazon affiliate program. A 2016 estimate placed the total amount around $660’000 (USD).
Here are his top tips:
- The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program
- 11 Lessons I Learned Earning $119,725.45 from Amazon Associates Program
- 10 More Amazon Associate Program Lessons I Learned on My Way to Six Figure Earnings
- How I Made over $500,000 with the Amazon Affiliate Program
Making Your Adsense Earnings Grow – Exponential Blogging. A post from 2005. He followed up with Exponential Blogging – Part II
Chitika was a search-targeted advertising company that ran for 15+ years. Darren had a lot of success with it in the early days of his blog.
In 2005, he shared how he had made over $700 in one day using Chitika eMiniMalls.
In 2009, he wrote about a change he made that tripled his earnings with one ad unit.
- April – Record Blogging Earnings (2005)
- April Earnings Update (2006)
- How I Make Money Blogging [My Income Split in April 2010]
- How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for May 2010
- How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for June 2010
- How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for July 2010
- How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for August/September 2010
- October and November Earnings Breakdown (2010)
- December Earnings Breakdown: My Best Month Ever (2010)
- My January and February Blogging Income Breakdown (2011)
- My April Blogging Income Breakdown (2013)
- My Blogging Income Breakdown for the First Half of 2016
- Case Study: An Experiment with Short Form Content Experimented with creating sneeze pages to share on social media sites. Quite effective.
- How I Overlooked a 1000 Visitor a Day Source of Traffic [And What I Did to Grow it to 3000 Visits a Day]
- Learnings from My Pinterest Experiment Darrens initial Pinterest experiment. I was hired shortly after this post was published to manage the DPS Account.
- 5 Ways You Can Use Facebook Groups to Benefit Your Blog
- How I Increased Facebook Reach and Engagement by 200-300% this Week.
- Case Study: My Experiment with Starting a 2nd Facebook Page for My Blog
- My Top 10 Traffic Sources (2008)
- How I Lost 80% of My Traffic Overnight (And How I Got it Back, Plus More!)
- 11 Ways I Diversified Traffic Sources for My Blogs to Become Less Reliant Upon Google [With a Surprising Twist]
- The Day 250,000 People Showed Up At My Blog: Case Study
- How I Turned a Guest Post into 3 Million Visitors and Over 150,000 Social Media Shares
- Blog This! Sometimes Going Back to Basics Leads to the Best Posts The story of how he nearly didn’t write a blog post because he thought the topic was too simple. That article was viewed over 500’000 times.
- 186: A Step-By-Step Guide To How I Write A Blog Post
His Other Blogs
Most people focus on Darrens later work, which is understandable. However his earlier blogs, and business evolution, make for a fascinating story.
Darren’s income can be traced [with a bit of investigative journalism] back to a variety of blogs coming from 2 major domain names. The two domains are breakingnewsblog.com and livingroom.org. If you go to the main page of either domain you can see very basic graphics, limited text and no monetization. So how did he do it?
The key was each of these domains had many sub-domains. Each sub-domain was very targeted to specific topics like digital cameras, printers, camera phones, and even unmanned aerial vehicles. The blogs were then very keyword specific and advertising inundated. The blogs brought in lots of search engine traffic and if you look at them today they are still bringing more traffic then 80% of other blogs even though many have not been updated for years.
He shared more about these early blogs in the 2004 post Pro-blogging >> My two year Journey of Discovery. He also shared that it took two years for him to start earning a decent income.
It’s a fascinating time, and it’s well worth tracking down articles from this period. Here’s my favourite: Interview with ProBlogger Darren Rowse
Breaking News Blog
Mid 2005, Darren announced the launch of the Breaking News Blog Collective. He wrote about it further in an FAQ at Problogger, including why the he called it a collective rather then network. One of those blogs was about the Pope. It reached 1500 visitors per hour at its peak.
One highlight from his experiences was the massive amount of traffic he received for his Michael Jackson Trial blog. Interestingly, most of that traffic was from MSN search. He also had success with Blogger Idol.
In November, 2008, Darren soft-launched TwiTip.
TwiTip was a blog about Twitter. The articles contained posting tips, news and reviews of tools for those wanting to improve their use of Twitter. The blog is no longer active.
He shared more about the experience at:
6 months later, he launched 7 Ways to FeelBetter – the first ebook on the site. He experimented with a different launch technique by offering the first 500 for free and the second 500 for half price. He wrote about the launch at Problogger.
Six Figure Blogging
In 2005, he posted Reflections on the Six Figure Blogging Course/
Later in 2005, he launched b5 Media with Duncan Riley, Shai Coggins and Jeremy Wright. The strategy was to have extremely niche blogs organized into channels – at one stage, they had 350. He wrote about his experiences during the first four months here. He stopped being a part of the network in 2010 and was just a shareholder.
Problogger formally joined b5media in November, 2005.
Darren was one of the original co-founders of the Third Tribe Marketing community. He wrote about it more at The Third Tribe – Launched [My Back Story]
- NBP110 - From ProBlogger to Not-So-Pro-Podcaster (Yet!) with Darren Rowse
- Interview with ProBlogger Darren Rowse (2005 interview)
Day In The Life
One of the reasons Darren is so successful is because he’s been blogging for such a long time. He has more content that can lead to income.
Example 1 – when I dig into my Google Analytics account and drill down into the AdSense stats there, I see that last month my post ‘Aperture‘ on dPS earned me $233.23 and this Wedding Photography Tips post earned $222.61.
Those posts were published in 2007, five and a half years ago!
Example 2 – when I look at my Amazon Affiliate earnings, I can see that my Popular Digital Camera and Gear post generated $60 yesterday for me. That post has been up since 2009 and while I do update it from time to time, it has been over 2 months since I reviewed it.
I also recommend checking out his World Domination Summit presentation, How to Get Dreams Out of Your Head [And a Video of Me Wearing Tights]. He dresses up as superman.